Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coast of Maine: SEGUINLAND...a place of extraordinary beauty where artists gathered.

Small Point

A recent invitation by friends took us to Phippsburg, Maine. During our visit they took us to several of their favorite places showing us many aspects of this enchanting place.
A stop at Small Point found us on the porch of a grand and charming shingled style building the likes of an old hotel. The porch, with wicker and rockers, faced the sea. Visible from the porch is an island with a lighthouse, Seguin Island Light.
By the way, this lighthouse where the Kennebec River meets the sea,was commissioned by George Washington in 1795

Etnier House

The house on the distant shore belonged to an artist Stephen Etnier (1903-1984).
He was only vaguely familiar to both myself and James, so it was interesting to find out more about him. Our friends and hosts had a book about Etnier, so we recognized the house and the interesting boat launch from paintings and photos. I later read that Etnier originally arrived in Maine in 1928 to study with Rockwell Kent.

It is no wonder that artists have been attracted to this area.
This place, "Seguinland", encompasses both the Phippsburg and Georgetown Peninsulas, flanking the Kennebec River.

Georgetown and Phippsburg attracted a group of artists, Modernists, during the first half of the 20th Century.
During the mid 1920's into the 1930's many renowned artists left their NY studios for the summer seeking a cooler climate and beauty of Maine. Here in Seguinland the likes of artists such as Gaston Lachaise, Marsden Hartley,
John Marin, Marguerite and William Zorach worked, gardened and gathered to savour life here.
Photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand also found themselves drawn to these breathtaking Maine peninsulas.

Low tide, Phippsburg

We found this place to be a visual symphony of water, sand, rocky shore, dark pines and clear light. Water creating patterns in the sand, water carving out granite, water shimmering in the sunlight. The sound of gulls and the surprise of a Bald Eagle exiting a nearby, very nearby tree and soaring out across the cove.
A day of exploring followed by a perfectly clear evening on the porch enjoying lobster and champagne.
Our evenings entertainment....The Milky Way and shooting stars.

The next morning the fog rolls in, yet another Maine experience.
It is lovely, soft and atmospheric.
It is clear why so many artists have spent time in this special place.
We had a splendid time.

For more on "Seguinland" visit the Portland Museum of Art to see two
current exhibitions:

Maine Moderns: Art in Seguinland, 1900-1940
June 4- September 11, 2011

John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury
June 23- October 10, 2011

Another exhibit on painting in Maine can be seen at Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Edward Hopper spent several summers painting and drawing
in Ogunquit and on Monhegan Island, this show is a collection of those works.

Edward Hopper's Maine
July 15 - October 16, 2011

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